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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 368.3 km/sec
density: 2.2 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2244 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A0
2245 UT Aug06
24-hr: A0
1410 UT Aug06
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 06 Aug 08
The sun is blank--no sunspots. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 0
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 06 Aug. 2008
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 1 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 1
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
What is the auroral oval?
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.9 nT
Bz: 0.0 nT
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole could reach Earth on August 10th. Credit: SOHO Extreme UV Telescope
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2008 Aug 04 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2008 Aug 04 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
What's up in Space
August 6, 2008
AURORA ALERTS: Did you miss the Northern Lights of July 12th? Next time get a wake-up call from Space Weather PHONE.  

MARTIAN MYSTERY: NASA's Phoenix lander has found something unexpected in the soil of Mars: perchlorate, a compound used in fireworks and rocket fuel and consumed as food by some terrestrial microbes. How does this affect the odds and possible nature of life on Mars? No one knows. Puzzled scientists discussed the finding at a press conference yesterday: text, audio.

GREEN SNOW: Normally, the South Pole is snow white, but on August 4th, the landscape around 90o S turned vivid green:

Photo details: Canon Rebel XTi, 15s-30s, 800-1600 ISO, 10 mm Sigma lens, f4.0.

What happened? A plasma bullet struck Earth's inner magnetic field, sparking bright Southern Lights. In the deep Antarctic night, everything turned the color of aurora australis.

"These auroras illuminated the ice surface enough to see the sastrugi I was tripping over while I took the pictures," reports J. Dana Hrubes, caretaker of the South Pole Telescope and science leader of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. "We are enjoying the last full month of aurora watching at the geographic south pole as the sun will be making its return after 6 months on September 21st. In at least one of the photos you can see the South Pole Telescope; it is blurry because it was scanning the sky during the exposure. The bright 'star' is Jupiter."

More auroras are possible on August 10th when an incoming solar wind stream is expected to hit Earth's magnetic field. High latitude sky watchers, be alert for green snow.

SHADOW CONE: Last Friday when the Moon's dark shadow swept across Earth, producing a total eclipse of the sun, the place it touched first was northern Canada. In remote Nunavut, Alan Dyer and seven others boarded a plane and took off to witness the eclipse before anyone else did. Here is what they saw:

"This wide-angle image shows the eclipsed sun at the apex of the dramatic cone-shaped shadow of the Moon," describes Dyer. "We were located at the beginning of the path of totality. This means the Moon's shadow was an elongated ellipse and it stretched a long way off into the distance. The perspective from our altitude (27,000 feet) made the elliptical shadow look like a cone narrowing down toward the sun. It was a unique view of the eclipse. I'd never seen the Moon's shadow so well defined before. "

Browse the gallery for more stories from the path of totality:

UPDATED: Solar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[interactive eclipse map]

Near-Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On August 6, 2008 , there were 971 potentially hazardous asteroids.
August 2008 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
54509 YORP
Aug. 1
67 LD
130 m
2008 ON10
Aug. 11
12 LD
50 m
2001 RT17
Aug. 14
69 LD
1.2 km
1991 VH
Aug. 15
18 LD
1.8 km
2008 MZ
Aug. 31
60 LD
1.1 km
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
Essential Links
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2008, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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